Photo by Pete Guion – Ultiphotos.com
Major League Ultimate released the names of their officiating crew for this Saturday’s MLU Championship.
With the biggest game of the MLU season approaching this weekend, the league has announced the officiating crew for the Championship, including referees from 6 of the leagues 8 markets. This will be the first bi-coastal officiating crew in MLU history.
Leading the officiating for the Championship will be the league’s head referee for 2016, Steve Kreider.
“In general I believe that it’s important to provide for the Championship game a referee crew that pulls a little bit from each market for a number of reasons.” said Kreider, who spent the regular season leading the Washington D.C. based crew. “First of all it ensures that each team feels fairly represented. While I have the utmost confidence in every one of our referees across the league to officiate in an unbiased matter, it’s important to work with teams to give them a secure feeling of getting a balanced crew so that they can focus solely on their preparation, strategy, and game play.”
Joining Krieder (who will serve as the game’s Head Referee) on the field will be Morgan Wescliff from Seattle, James Kulinski from Philadelphia, James Rhodes from Boston and Alan Baggish from Vancouver. One additional referee, Noah Polsky of New York will be the scoreboard official.
“The decision for who would be officiating the MLU Championship was a very tough one.” said Kreider, “With only 5 referees on the field and 1 additional referee operating the score board there are only so many spots to go around and a large number of qualified referees to fill those spots.”
Both Kulinski and Rhodes have served as the MLU’s Head Referee during previous seasons (Kulinski in 2013-14, Rhodes in 2015), and now serve as coordinating officials in their home markets. Wescliff, Baggish and Polsky are currently the coordinating officials for MLU’s referee crews in Seattle, Vancouver and New York.
“In looking at the structure of our officiating model I decided to approach only coordinating officials first.” said Krieder. “Each city has one coordinating official who is responsible for the off-field logistics of managing that cities crew. I am amazed at the amount of work that our coordinating officials put into their roles without getting any additional pay for it and I felt like the offer to officiate the championship game was the least I could do as a thank you for that.”
While this group of referees has never worked together before, Kreider does not see chemistry being an issue. The entire staff for the championship game have undergone the same training and review process that all MLU referees go through, and they all have several years of experience under their belts.
While coaches, players and fans of the Philadelphia Spinners and Portland Stags will be honored for their fantastic seasons with the chance to take home their first MLU titles, the chance to officiate on the highest stage is a great opportunity for Krieder and his chosen staff.
“I was able to officiate the championship game last year and it was a wonderful experience.” said the head referee. “Being in a larger stadium and seeing the players after working so hard all year to get there, it’s a great honor and a huge responsibility to officiate the championship game. Anyone who takes on the job of being a referee is going to be someone who thrives on greater responsibility and the crew that I’ve assembled for this game is no different. We are all looking forward to taking our role on the field very seriously and can’t wait to be a part of history as the first bi-coastal championship crew.”